Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Matthew 6; 28, 29
The greatest service that anyone can render to the race is to properly fill the place he occupies now, to be himself today; but it is not only others that will benefit by such individual actions. The individual himself will receive greater good from life through this method than through all other methods combined. The great secret of secrets is to live your own life in your own world as well as you possibly can now. In this age thousands are seeking the path of spiritual growth and high intellectual attainments, while millions are dreaming of the life beautiful; accordingly, systems almost without number are springing up everywhere, claiming to reveal the hidden path to these greater goals; but it is the truth that when everything has been said, the one statement that rises above them all is this: Be all that you are today and you shall be even more tomorrow.
If you are in search of higher spiritual and intellectual attainments enter into every form of wisdom that surrounds you today and fill your life with as much spirit as you can possibly realize. If you wish to live an ideal life, then aim to make real the most beautiful life that you can think of today. If you are longing for greater accomplishments and a larger sphere of usefulness, then be your very best in the place that you occupy now.
The mighty oak grows great because it grows in the present; it does not think of the past or the future; it is what it is now; it does not wish to become mighty; it simply grows on silently and continually. The lily of the field is beautiful because it is perfectly satisfied to be a lily, but it is not satisfied to be less than all a lily can be. It does not strive or work hard to become beautiful; it simply goes on being what it is, and the result is it has been made immortal by the greatest mind that ever lived. When we follow the example of the lily we find the real secret of life, so simply and clearly stated that any one can understand.
Be what you are today. Do not be satisfied to be less than you can today and do not strive to be more. Progress, growth, advancement, attainment, these do not come through overreaching. The mind that overreaches will have a reaction; he will fall to the bottom and will have to begin all over again. Real attainment comes by being your best where you are just for today, by filling the present moment with all the life you are conscious of; no more. If you try to express more life than you can comfortably feel in consciousness, you are overreaching and you will have a fall. The great mistake of the age is to strive, to go about our work as if it were extremely difficult. The man who works the hardest usually accomplishes the least; while the truly great man is the man who has trained his life and his power to work through him.
The lilies of the field are not engaged in hard labor, and yet their usefulness cannot be measured; they are fulfilling their true purpose; they are making real the ideal in their own world and they are living inspirations to every soul in existence. They live to be beautiful and they become beautiful, not by being ambitious for beauty, but by permitting all the beauty they possess to come forth. What is within us is constantly pressing for expression. We do not have to call it forth nor labor so much to bring it into action. All we are required to do is to permit ourselves to be what we are, to permit what is within to express itself fully and completely.
We do not have to work so hard to become great. We are all naturally great, and our potential greatness is ever ready to manifest, if we would only cease our striving and let life live. The lily is beautiful because it does not hinder its own inherent beauty from coming forth to be seen; but if the lily should take up the strenuous life it would in one generation become a despised weed. The human race today resembles in too many instances the useless weed. Millions in every generation come and go without accomplishing anything whatever. They do not even live a life that gives contentment. The reason is they strive too much, and in their striving destroy the very powers that can produce greatness.
We have worked hard for results, not knowing that the only cause of results was within us, ready to produce the very results we desired, just for the asking. We have in many instances destroyed our brains trying to invent methods for producing health, happiness, power and success, not knowing that these things already existed within us in abundant supply, and that by wholesome thinking they would appear in full external expression.
The secret of secrets is to let the best within us have full right of way; this, however, most of us have failed to do. In consequence, the majority are undeveloped weaklings of little use to themselves or to the world. The lily permits that which is to have right of way. It does not interfere, but man does interfere. He usually refuses to accept the gifts which nature wishes to bestow upon him, and he hardly ever accepts assistance from a higher power. He sets out for himself and works himself into old age and death trying to gain what was actually given to him in the beginning. He leaves the real riches of life and enters the world of personal ambition expecting to find something better and create something superior through his own efforts, but he fails because man alone can do nothing.
The average person does not realize that to create something from nothing is impossible, nor has he learned that the necessary something can come only from the life that is within. He may try to accomplish much and become much through personal ambition and hard work, but no one can build without material, and the material that is needed in building greatness can be secured only by giving right of way to the life and the power of the inner world. The man who expects to build greatness upon personal limitations will pass away in the effort, leaving his unfinished work to be taken up by some one else who will possibly build upon the same useless foundation. Thus one generation after another comes and goes, each expecting to succeed where predecessors failed; in the meantime very little is accomplished by man, and he fails to receive what infinite life is ever waiting to give.
This is the truth about man in general. The multitudes have come and gone during countless ages and have accomplished but little. There have been a few great exceptions in every age, but these were exceptions because they refused to follow the ways of the world. They learned the lesson that the lilies have taught, and they chose to let life live, to let the greatness from within come forth, to let power work, and to let that which is in the real of man have full right of way. When a person discovers what he is and permits that which he is to have full expression, his days of weariness, trouble and failure are gone.
Henceforth he will live as the flower. His life will be full. He will fulfill his purpose and eternally become more and more of that which already is in the great within. When a flower, which has so little of soul within itself, can become so much by permitting itself to be itself, how much more might man become if he would permit himself to be himself. Man is created in the image of God, therefore marvels are hidden within his wonderful soul. When these marvels are given full expression then man begins to become that which the Infinite intended that he should be. In the soul of the lily is hidden the spirit of beauty; nothing more. But the lily does not hinder this spirit from appearing in visible form; therefore, it becomes an inspiration of joy to all the world. In the soul of man even the Infinite is hidden; we can therefore imagine what man will become when he permits the spirit of divinity to express itself in his personal form. This is a great truth, indeed, and deserves constant attention from every mind that has learned to think.
We may believe that every step forward that we have taken has been produced through personal efforts and hard work, but in this we are mistaken.
In the first place, those achievements that have followed hard work are always insignificant and never of any permanent value, but those steps forward that have permanent value and that are truly great we find were taken during those moments when we permitted real life to live. We therefore find that striving accomplishes nothing, while we may through living, accomplish anything.
There are times when many of us cease our strenuous labor for a few moments and unconsciously open our souls to that higher something that we feel so much the need of when wearied with misdirected labors, and the influx of real life that comes at such times is the cause of those real steps upward and onward that we have taken. At such times we chose to be like the lily; we permitted the good that was to come forth; we gave up, so to speak, to higher power and did not interfere with its highest, fullest expression. What we gain at such moments is always with us and never fails to give us strength, power and inspiration even when we decide for the time being to adopt the ways of the world once more. But since every step in advance comes when we refuse to go the way of the world, we should now understand that the way of the world is a mistake. We should therefore free ourselves from that mode of life, thought and action absolutely.
The world seeks to gain greater things through personal ambition and hard work. The true way to attain greater things is to permit the greatness that is within to have full expression; likewise when we seek health, happiness and harmony or a beautiful life, the true course is to permit those things to come forth and act through us; they are ready to appear. We do not have to work for them or strive so hard to secure them. They are now at hand and will express themselves through us the very moment we grant them permission.
We have all discovered that whenever we become perfectly still and permit supreme life to live in us we can feel power accumulating in our system until we feel as if we could move mountains. We have also felt that while turning attention to the everlasting joy within and opening the mind fully to this joy that there came into being a state of happiness, comfort and contentment that seemed infinitely more perfect than the imagination has ever pictured the joys of heaven to be. Likewise when we failed to find health in the without or through external means we invariably found the precious gift coming from within, the moment we gave up, so to speak, to its wholesome life and power.
In this age personal ambition is one of the ruling factors, and nearly everybody is trying to outdo some one else. The result is we build up and tear down in the outer world, but as a race we improve but little. The great within is ignored, held back or prevented from free expression, while there are few things in the great without that are really worthwhile. There never was a time when we should consider the lilies of the field more than now.
The human race is breaking itself down striving to gain hold upon phantoms, while the great prize that has already been given is lost sight of in the dust and confusion. But to inspire the present generation with a desire to return to nature and her beautiful ways cannot be done to any extent, however, except through living examples. It is the living of life that will change the life of the world. The world at large does not listen to reason, nor can those who are in the mad rush stop to think; besides, such minds are not sufficiently clear to understand the principles upon which the living of life is based. Seeing is believing, as far as the world is concerned, and therefore they require living examples of those who have proven the superiority of the better way; accordingly, those who know how to live as the lilies live should consider it a privilege to place their light wherever it can be seen.
When you can prove through your own life and experience that personal ambition and hard work are not necessary to greater things, but are actual hindrances, and that greater things come of themselves to those who will permit themselves to be themselves, you have caused a great light to spring up, and few there are who will not see it. Those who take everything literally may wonder how anything can be accomplished without work, but they must bear in mind that there is work, and work. The work that is done by those who are down in the world's way is hard, wearing and tearing. It is destructive to human life and builds up one thing by tearing down another, and in the end it brings no lasting good, neither to the individual nor to the race; but the work that is done by those who have found the better way is neither hard nor wearisome. It is not done through strenuous living nor external striving, but is done by the power of the great within coming forth into expression in personal life.
In this mode of work you first give your inner power right of way, then you direct it consciously and intelligently. You do not depend upon personal power and difficult personal efforts. You place yourself in the hands of higher power, and as you receive higher power you cause it to do that which you wish to have done. You have all felt power working through you, and at such times work was pleasure. You gave the commands, of course, and you knew it was your own power, your own higher power, but no hard personal effort was required.
You simply opened the way somehow, then decided firmly but gently what you wished to have done; and you could feel a mighty power coming forth, seemingly from an inexhaustible source, taking full possession of thought and muscle, and doing the very thing you desired to have done. After the work was finished you discovered it was superior work, and although you had engaged in the task for many hours you actually felt stronger than when you began.
The reason why is simple. You did not depend upon personal limitations and strenuous efforts; and you did not try to make those limitations do a great deal more than they had the capacity to do. You opened your life to all the power of your life and you thus received enough power to do what you wished to have done, and more; and so long as you have power to spare you can be neither weak nor tired. When the system is thoroughly full of energy, work is a pleasure; and so long as that fullness continues weariness is impossible; and there is enough power in real life to cause your system to be full of energy, and more, at all times no matter how much you may do or how great your task may be.
When we consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, we find that they naturally permit the life that is within them to unfold; they do not try to grow; they have, as everything has, the power of growth within them and they grow because they do not hinder that interior power and growth from having their way. Likewise, when we know that divinity reigns within us we do not have to work hard nor many years to reach that state. We will grow and develop, both mentally and spiritually, when we permit the divinity within to unfold.
Everything seeks self-expression. Nothing in nature, visible or invisible, will have to be forced into expression, because at the very heart of all things there is the deep, strong desire to come forth and be. Therefore, if we wish to ascend in the scale of life, we must cease those confused and destructive states of mind that hinder expression, and become as the lilies of the field. Give the life within permission to really live in us. The life within will live our life and give us a beautiful life. The power within will do our work and do that work extremely well. The divinity within will make us Godlike in all things, and never cease to give us the things of the spirit so long as we permit those things to come forth and abide in personal existence.
What we are required to do that such things may come to pass is to live, think and act in the likeness of the Infinite. God is, and He permits Himself to be what He is. Man must do likewise, and all shall be well with him. Those who do not understand may think that the individuality of man might diminish, if he were to give himself up to the life and the power within, but such a conclusion will disappear when we realize that the power from within is our own. We are simply causing ourselves to become more and more of what we already are in reality.
By giving free expression to our own higher, interior powers we naturally become more powerful, and by giving free expression to our own inherent divinity we naturally become more Godlike and more spiritual on every plane of being. The lilies of the field do not become inferior lilies by permitting the spirit of the beautiful to unfold from within their gentle lives. It is by this method that they become what they are, and they become so much that the glory of artificial man can never compare with theirs. It is the same with the human soul. The soul becomes great and beautiful by permitting its own greatness and loveliness to come forth unhindered and undisturbed.
Thousands of people are at present trying to develop higher powers. Many of these actually try to work hard in their efforts to gain the various gifts of mind and soul, and because they do not succeed to any great extent they frequently become discouraged and give up, wondering whether or not the real truth has been found. Others being ambitious to become great in the world try to employ spiritual laws in the furthering of their personal aims, but they find the reactions so disagreeable that the prize is not worth the labor. To fly to the top at once is the ruling passion among many and when they fail with whatever methods they may employ they conclude that what passes for truth is nothing but man made doctrines.
The fact is, however, that the truth always appears to be the untruth when misdirected. To apply the principles of real truth in the furthering of any lofty aim we may have in mind, the first essential is to establish life in perfect touch with eternal life; the second essential is to positively determine what we expect to attain and become in actual personal living; and the third essential is to proceed in the attainment of health, happiness and harmony. Without health nothing of permanent value can be accomplished. Without happiness our talents will be as the flowers without sunshine, and without harmony most of the power we might receive would be thrown away.
To obtain health, happiness and harmony we need simply let life live. Real life already has these things, and when we let life live in us those things will be expressed through us. The next essential is to resolve that we will be fully contented simply to live. To shine in the world, to acquire fame or to do something wonderful that mankind may long remember us, that we will not think of. Many a person has worked hard for fame and died early, in obscurity. Fame in itself, however, is of no value.
When you are neither happy nor well, fame cannot make your life worthwhile. If you are miserable, it will profit nothing if everybody may know your name. It is not the praise of man that we should seek, but the life of the Infinite. The praise of the world can give us nothing, but life from within can give us everything that the heart can wish for.
True fame comes to him who deserves it without his trying to get it, but those only can deserve the honor of the race who have always been their best, who have not neglected a single opportunity to be of service, and who have lived constantly for the one purpose of being an inspiration to every soul. We may look at this phase of the subject as we may, we can come to only one conclusion. He alone is great and deserving of honor who so lives that he always is all that God made him to be; and it is such a life that is lived by the lilies of the field.
When man will be as true to his large world as the lilies are to their small world, mankind will become a race of gods indeed, and the Utopian dreams of the prophets will come true. This, however, the ordinary thinker may declare to be impossible, but nothing is impossible. If a flower can be true to itself in its world, man can be true to himself in his world.
Those who are accustomed to the worldly methods of thinking and working may feel that it is hardly possibly to apply these new ideas while associated with worldly minds, but we must remember that it is not where we work or at what we work, but how we work that determines what results are to be. To work so that you permit the boundless power within to work through you is the secret, and this will not only cause your work to be pleasant, but will also cause you to do better and better work every day.
It is therefore the royal path to pleasantness today and greater things tomorrow. In the old way you are compelled to almost wear yourself out today in order that you might provide for tomorrow; but not so in the new. While you are providing for tomorrow you are not only enjoying life today, but you are, through the expression of greater and greater power from within, making yourself larger, stronger and greater today. In the development of talents you employ the same principle. You do not strive for greatness; you know that you are potentially great already, and by permitting this greatness to become alive in you, you will accomplish great things.
When you apply this principle in everything that you do, you will find your advancement to be steady and even rapid; you will move forward in all things, making the ideal real as you ascend in the scale. The very moment you find a new ideal you find that power within you that can make that ideal real; thus your advancement becomes continuous, your progress eternal. To live the life beautiful we simply let life live. We know that life itself is beautiful and when we permit that life that is beautiful to live in us, we will live consciously and personally the most beautiful life that we can picture in the ideal without making any personal effort to do so.
When we begin to live, think and act according to these principles we feel that we are carried on and on by some mysterious presence that seems to be doing everything for us while giving us the pleasure and the glory. We soon learn, however, that this presence is our self, our own larger, superior self created in the image of God.; therefore, able to do everything that we may wish to have done; and it is a joy, indeed, to feel everything moving so smoothly and gently, so harmoniously and pleasantly, and at the same time producing such great results.
To engage in some extraordinary work becomes one of our greatest pleasures, because nothing is hard or difficult any more; obstacles disappear the very moment we enter their presence, and we realize inwardly that whatever we undertake to do will be accomplished. We no longer tremble when in the midst of events that require exceptional wisdom and power; we know that wisdom is ready to speak whatever may be necessary now, and that power is at hand to do whatever may be necessary to be done now. We are in touch with the greatness of the great within and may draw upon that great, inexhaustible source whatever we may need at any time.
Fear takes flight, while faith becomes stronger, higher and more perfect; sorrow and despair are no more, because all things are working for the best. Even in the presence of death and loss we see more life and greater gain. We know that what passes away merely ascends that it may live more and be itself in a larger, higher measure than it ever was before. We know that whatever comes will bring the new and the more beautiful. It could not be otherwise, because having chosen to be all that we are, the all can never cease to come, and the more the all continues to come the more the all will continue to bring. We have laid aside the illusions of the world and adopted the ways of truth. We have beheld the beauties of nature and have opened our minds to the visions of the soul. These have given us the secret, and like the lilies of the field, we have learned to be still and live.